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Nor can this dreadful misery of the lost sinner be referred to any other cause than sin;–not to any lack of benevolence in God, for the bowels of his compassion yearned towards all, and would have saved them, had they conformed to the principles of righteous government;-not to any defect in the divine law, for it is holy, and just, and good;—not to any limitation in the atonement, for it was ample for the world –not to want of opportunity, for every lost soul in perdition had it. All the woes of perdition are then the sole work of sin. But for his sinning, and that too against the greatest of mercies, every lost spirit in perdition might have risen on angel-wing, and sung the raptures of cherubim and seraphim. We thus learn how we ought to regard the perdition of the wicked. Many consider it a hard feature in the divine government, and would even keep it out of view through fear of impugning the character of God. But suppose a great and good sovereign, has instituted the best of governments, and done all, as a righteous king, to secure the allegiance and happiness of his subjects. Yet some of them do and will rebel, and thus involve themselves in ruin. How should we feel towards that sovereign, in view of this And how ought we to feel towards God, in view of the ruin which men bring on themselves by sin How would you feel towards an excellent parent, who, having done every thing for his children, is at last pained to see some of them destroy themselves by misdoing? Instead of rebuking him, would not your feelings be those of deep, tender, solemn sympathy Did we view this subject right, instead of murmuring, we should feel as did Christ when he listed his streaming eyes to heaven over wicked and doomed Jerusalem. This subject also teaches us, that it is the first duty and highest wisdom of every man to do all in his power to deliver his soul from perdition. The apathy of men on this point, even under color of reason, is amazing. How many are rushing on blindly, as though no harm could possibly await them; while others deliberately calculate on the mercy of God to save them, do as they may. All this, in face of the blazing admonitions and reiterated warnings of God himself. Such is the horrible infatuation of sin. If ever I forget that I am soon to die and appear before God in judgment, and if the danger of then appearing on the left hand ever ceases from my mind, may the Holy Ghost cause those words of Jesus, “Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire,” to ring in my ears as the knell of death;-may peace forsake my conscience; may friends and the world cease to afford me a single solace; may I find no rest for my soul, but in a penitential surrender to the Saviour. My earthly plans, and gains, and losses, even my choicest earthly friendships, I may forget; but the everlasting retributions of the judgment day, I must not forget ! For them I live—to them I hasten on the wings of every moment—and soon, for good or for evil, they must be mine forever. What are all things else to me, compared with these ? I can afford to suffer earthly losses, pains, trials, but how can I afford to endure the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels? Who
shall dwell with devouring fire 2 Who shall inhabit everlasting burnings 2 Reader 1 May God of his mercy send the salutary fear of perdition into your hearts—may you be led to inquire, with wakeful solicitude, what you must do to be saved. And from this hour, so long as you live, may all your thoughts, plans, and actions, be directed to escaping the bitter pains of the second death and securing a throne of glorious immortality in heaven.
SYSTEM OF DOCTRINES.
THE Christian doctrines, like all God's other works, present a complete and symmetrical system. Each part is correlate to every other, and all together form a compact and glorious building, whose foundation is Christ.
There are two ways of presenting divine truth;the one analytical—illustrating each part separately ;the other synthetical—presenting the whole in connection. Having exhibited the parts, we now propose to exhibit the whole. Having examined the several portions of the structure, let us put them together, and see the building complete. I have thought it best to do this, even at the expense of some repetition;–so important it is, that the mind clearly apprehend these doctrines, and so much assisted it is in so doing, by viewing them in their relations to each other, as well as separately.
The systEM of doctrines at which we arrive, then, called technically the “evangelical,” is summarily the following:—
The universe is not an accident, but the work of a living and intelligent BEING, called God;—a Being, self-existent, eternal, unchangeable, almighty, infinite in wisdom, goodness, justice. This glorious Being exists as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;-as Father he is moral Governor, as Son Mediator, as Holy Ghost Sanctifier. In each of these Persons he is the same divine Essence. The Father being at the head of moral government, the Son is officially subject to the Father. In his deity, Christ is in all attributes infinite ; in his official capacity, in all things subject to the Father; in his humanity, in all respects a perfect man. The Holy Ghost is also a distinct Agent of the Godhead, sustaining a personal office under the Son in the work of human renovation. God has thrown from his creating hand not only worlds of matter, and vegetables, and animals, but also an immense kingdom of accountable minds, over which he administers a righteous moral government. Under this government all the obedient attain to a glorious immortality. They become heirs and companions of God; they walk with him in white on the fields of eternity, delighting in his perfections, sympathizing in his benevolence, rejoicing in his reign, enjoying his works, reflecting his glory. Annihilate the moral system, and God would exist in everlasting solitude, having none to bear his image, enjoy his character, reflect his brightness;–the higher orders of irrational instinct would be the nearest approach to him. The towering ranks of holy beings in the heavenly